• Jul 13, 2008
Follow the jump for a video demonstrating the Smart Intersection

Newer technology like GPS and Wi-Fi have given us easy access to directions, and soon, in-car Internet. Ford is working with the federal government and other automakers to use that same technology to improve safety on our roadways as well. Since 40 of automotive fatalities occur at intersections, stop signs and stop lights were the smart place to start.

The new "Smart Intersection" uses Wi-Fi and GPS to find the exact location of your vehicle and determine if a warning is needed to help you stop. When driving through an intersection, an on-site black box and two wireless antennae communicate with your vehicle. If the light is red and it's determined that your vehicle isn't stopping, a wireless signal will be sent to your car, alerting you with a visual and audible warning signal in a fraction of a second. A series of red LEDs will flash, a noise will sound, and a voice will say "stop sign" or "stop light". With drivers preoccupied with cell phones, in-car eating and sipping on java, the warning quickly refocuses his or her attention back to the road. We tried it ourselves, and we can tell you firsthand that the warnings quickly got us to stop the car.

The move toward active safety comes as most automakers are getting four or five stars in NHTSA crash testing, making the next focus of their efforts the avoidance of accidents altogether. The Smart Intersection could help save thousands of lives per year, while also cutting back the three billion gallons of fuel wasted each year in accident-related traffic jams. Honda, Toyota, GM, and Daimler are also working on smart intersections, and Ford collaborated with Michigan's Oakland County to set up a couple of real-world techno-intersections for testing. Unfortunately, it could take 20 years to get smart intersection technology in every traffic stop and vehicle, but at least much of the technology needed to accomplish this goal is already here. Follow the jump to see a video of the Smart Intersection in action.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why don't people just open their eyes when driving?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because! It's difficult to put on make-up, add more cream to the coffee, eat a sandwich, change the song on the radio, talk on the phone AND drive the car. Come on now. We have to prioritize. Obviously, the phone call can't wait...the song sucks that's on, I'm hungry, falling asleep and gotta cover up the bruise on my forehead from the last time I did all this and rear-ended the car in front of me. Lol. Please note the sarcasm
        • 6 Years Ago
        Their eyes are opened but they look aboard and wandered: what’s there? 260km/h? Wow man I’m cool. Let’s speed it up. Too many………too many bad drivers on the road.
      BRUCE
      • 6 Years Ago
      DUMBING DOWN THE DRIVERS....NOT TOO SMART. WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE A 9000 RPM ENGINE WITH BRAKES A SMOKING, SITTING AT A RED LIGHT. LMAO.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you need this, you should be taking public transportation.
      • 6 Years Ago
      DKB_SATX:

      What about lane departure warning systems that shake the wheel? A number of cars are offering those now but no one complains. If anything they applaud the effort.

      I'm not saying TC or stability control are bad but at first alot of people disliked them but now readily accept them. What I was aiming at was I don't think people will have a big problem with it as long as it works well, like TC and stability control.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'll vote with Greg on this one. If it's optional so that people who want it can buy it, and NOT included in a package with several other desirable features that aren't available individually, fine. I don't want it to be required by the Feds, and I don't want it on *MY* car.

        Re: the package thing... it's VERY annoying when a handy feature you do want (e.g. Homelink for garage doors/gates/etc) is only packaged with things you don't, like ultrasonic backup systems that looks like warts on the back bumper.

        The lane-departure stuff wouldn't require the highways to be instrumented as it seems this Ford intersection warning system would. It doesn't require government entities to spend more of the tax money from ALL the people to support a gadget SOME people want.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Okay, I'll take a stab at it then...

        Lane departure systems that aren't a delete option are stupid.

        Make it an option on a Peterbuilt so that trucking companies can choose to get it for their drivers, but keep it out of my car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hmm, wonder how long it'll take until they want to brake the car for you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, 2014 Mercedes S600 will have it. Mercedes-Benz creates the curve, the S-class drives on it, everyone follows in suit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's just what I was thinking. I give it two years before big brother goes along for the ride!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Next they'll implement a way to use this to give you tickets. I can see the gov't tracking each car and mailing out tickets for U-turns and left hand turns into the right lane, etc.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think you understood what I was trying to say. Under the current system the gov't can only get access to your black box if they have probable cause, say you've been in an accident. They can't just walk up to your car and scan it, then issue tickets for speeding. However, these new devices will be completely under the gov't control. They will technically be able to see every move you make at an intersection, and then issue tickets based upon that.

        There's a big difference between the black box in your car ( which can also prove your innocence), that is still your property and is protected from illegal searches and seizures, and a device that the government has that can monitor cars at an intersection. Only a paranoid freak wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There are already "black boxes" in every new car (have been fore a decade now) that records your speed, direction, etc. The information that this device records is admissible in court, and is often used in the prosecution of criminal and civil automotive-related cases. Every time you start up the car, Big Brother's sitting next.
      • 6 Years Ago
      its a good idea with a bad implementation.
      if drivers start getting used to being told to stop, they will fail to stop at intersections that dont have this system.
      instead the system should be used to warn drivers of an impending accident only. this way, people dont get used to it, they can still get tickets for negligent driving, and the system becomes a risk mitigation strategy for problem intersections...instead of just another warning label.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ford and haters...when will it end?

      If this were Toyota or Honda tech it would be "innovative" and "amazing". Since it came from Ford its "stupid".

      Its amazing how people dislike Ford or GM based on the fact their dad owned one 20 years ago and it died because they forgot to put oil in it.

      Maybe this is "gimicky" but if it helps whats the problem? We've embraced stability and traction control among other things so is this that much different?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, I already think active cruise control is stupid, and that came from the luxury manufacturers.

        Not everyone things excessive automation is good from the "popular" foreign brands. ABS, good. Stability control (especially on the stupid high-CG vehicles Americans seem to love), good. REQUIRED stability control and tire-pressure monitoring because people can't be bothered to learn to drive and take reasonable care of their car, STUPID. Complex systems that require more electronic equipment to be installed in all cars AND at all intersections, bad.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "tagg:
        Ford and haters...when will it end?

        If this were Toyota or Honda tech it would be "innovative" and "amazing". Since it came from Ford its "stupid".

        Its amazing how people dislike Ford or GM based on the fact their dad owned one 20 years ago and it died because they forgot to put oil in it.

        Maybe this is "gimicky" but if it helps whats the problem? We've embraced stability and traction control among other things so is this that much different?"

        I drive a Ford. I like it very much. I also like pretty much everything from GM...very much.

        But I will not support stupid, useless gimmicks...even if they are from a company I like.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Matt:
        Maybe you do drive a Ford but judging from you past comments you definately share no love for anything they do. Pretty much every comment is a slam on everything they do from the Flex, EcoBoost, Lincoln MKS, and so on. I had a hard time finding one comment praising ANYTHING they have done in the last few months.

        Seems like a strange way to "like" a company. Its fine to be critical but damn.
        • 6 Years Ago
        exactly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      cram it, FORD. Spend your time on saving the company not being a ninny-nanny.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think Ford should spend their time designing vehicles that they don't already produce. 5-seat SUV...check...but we need another...we shall call it Edge.

      Seven seat station wagon...check...but we need another...we shall call it Flex...xB II would be too obvious.

      Oh...and in our down time, let us take the IRS to court...seeing as we have nothing better to do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      new tech is good, but will result in more dumb and dumber drivers......
        • 6 Years Ago
        sadly a lot fo drivers already are really really stupid, so anything to help them and stop them killing innocent people can only be good
      • 6 Years Ago
      I will not purchase a car with this technology, unless it can be turned off at my leisure.

      As for people who sit at intersections after the light has turned green, most of the rest of the world cycles through the yellow light for both red and green light changes, allowing people to get ready to start driving again before the light turns green. I find that an inordinate amount of time is lost in my commute waiting for people to start moving again after a light has turned green.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I just watch the other lights when my light is red. When the intersecting street turns red or when the opposite left-hand turn lane goes red, I know mine will be green shortly. I'm already prepped to go.

        Situational awareness. Good thing to have. If only people would watch the surrounding environment when driving...
    • Load More Comments